NDC Know-How: Workflow Changes & Implementation Tips for OTAs

NDC level-set

Airlines are developing new intelligent retailing capabilities to fuel growth

Airlines seek to grow by developing new retailing capabilities to deliver more intelligent offers to travelers. To broaden their reach, airlines want to distribute these new types of offers not only directly through their own websites, but also via indirect distribution channels, such as the Sabre GDS marketplace. Currently, legacy messaging standards inhibit indirect distribution.

NDC provides the technical “plumbing” to enable indirect distribution of intelligent offers

NDC is a travel-industry-supported program introduced by the International Airline Transport Association (IATA). NDC is a set of XML-based data exchange standards that creates new “technical plumbing” to enable distribution symmetry of intelligent offers across both direct and indirect channels. Introducing NDC-enabled solutions will help airlines merchandise their inventory more effectively.

NDC brings a fundamental shift in workflows

Sabre is focused on leveraging the NDC standard by driving innovation, building compelling products to drive value, and leading industry conversations to fill in gaps (servicing, etc.) and therefore, creating value for all constituents.

One of the primary differences with NDC, is that airlines will create and control the flow of offers. Sabre partners with OTAs to enable access to more content and meet customers’ needs. Sabre offer and order APIs are the pathway to NDC content for OTAs and lay the foundation for access as we steadily increase our capabilities in the coming months and years.

Why OTAs leverage Sabre APIs to integrate and sell NDC content

1. Seamless Integration: NDC offers are fully integrated into Sabre’s leading Bargain Finder Max (BFM) shopping capability, which normalizes traditional and NDC offers.

2. Developer experience: Sabre Offer and Order APIs for NDC content are REST/JSON enabled for the end-to-end workflow. We make it easy to get started with detailed documentation on the workflow available via Sabre Dev Studio, which includes a postman demo via GIT HUB.

3. Efficiency: Managing multiple direct connections to airlines adds development time and cost. Sabre manages this complexity and connectivity, resulting in direct savings for you by reducing implementation and maintenance costs.

Icon Looking for developer resources, including API documentation and capabilities?

Be in the know for your OTA workflow

Considering stakeholder needs across end-to-end workflows is a key component of Sabre’s iterative development process. We are collaborating with customers to design and refine our Beyond NDC solutions. While we strive to minimize workflow disruptions, some changes may be needed. Work with your Sabre account representative to understand NDC workflows.

WORKFLOW STEP
CURRENT PROCESS
IMPLICATIONS WITH NDC
TAKEAWAYS FOR THE OTA

Shopping

SHOPPING

One single API request and source from ATPCO

Sabre shopping API integrates content from multiple sources (ATPCO, LCC, NDC) into one single API.

Displaying NDC offers may include multiple components to support comparison shopping.

Minimize integration efforts.

Optimize development resources.

Understand UI design implications associated with NDC offers.

Pricing Validation

PRICING VALIDATION

One single API to verify the details of the Offer.

A single API is used to validate the pricing with additional qualifier (like FF#, etc.) irrespective of the content source (ATPCO, NDC, etc.).

The “Offer Price” API now provides a common approach to obtaining final pricing.

Itinerary revalidation PNR creation

The NDC booking process requires separate Sabre APIs.

Sabre booking APIs for NDC are less complex because you only send in offer ID and passenger details.

“Order Create” is the API to request anNDC order. (Order is how reservations are referred to in the NDC world).

Booking

PRICING VALIDATION

One PNR is created in the Sabre GDS and one is created in the airline reservation system.

Order is created in the airline reservation system.

Sabre keeps a copy of the order in its Order Management System (OMS).

When an NDC order is created, a mirror PNR is simultaneously generated in the Sabre GDS, which can also be retrieved via Sabre Red 360.

Simplified development efforts.

Itinerary revalidation PNR creation

Introduction of new “Time to Live” concept: NDC offers expire based on the carrier’s business rules. This is referenced to as “time to live” or TTL.

An NDC offer must be booked within its TTL interval.

TTL will vary by airline and possibly by date of travel.

After TTL has expired, an offer will need to be re-shopped and re-priced.

Ensure that the online booking flow includes the information on the validity of the offer.

For traditional offers, OTAs issue tickets through the Sabre GDS.

For NDC Offers, airlines will issue tickets upon receiving a fulfillment request from an OTA.

The API to request fulfillment is called “Orders Change.”

OTAs need to be aware of this change in order to adjust collection, billing and back-office processes.

Ticketing

TICKETING

Tickets are issued by OTAs by using automatically assigned ticket stock.

A technology provider may utilize neutral ticket stock on behalf of an airline.

Allows multiple payment options.

Leverages ARC/BSP capabilities (depending on carrier’s implementations).

PNRs/reservations normally have a ticketing deadline for midnight on the day of creation.

An airline will return the ticketing time limit after an order has been created.

OTA may need to adjust ticketing delivery processes.

Payment

PAYMENT

A variety of forms of payment (FOP) accepted today.

Some airlines may only accept credit cards as a FOP as they start to distribute NDC offers.

Those airlines using neutral ticket stock, may accept other forms of payment as well.

Consider your customer base and payment terms.

Know if your airline partners will adopt neutral ticket stock.

Post Booking

POST-BOOKING

OTAs can manage involuntary changes, make voluntary changes and cancel reservations.

OTAs can add or edit reservation fields such as email address, telephone number, seat assignment, etc.

Cancellation pre-fulfillment is available today.

Voluntary changes post-ticketing will be delivered in 2020.

Mid Office

MID-OFFICE

Steady state

Changes to mid-office systems will be necessary and will vary depending on the type of system and provider.

Assess your mid-office systems and determine how they support your NDC plans and if adjustments are needed. Ask third-party providers about their approach to migrating to the new NDC-enabled APIs.

Back Office Reconciliation

BACK-OFFICE RECONCILIATION

Steady state

Sabre will continue to provide the Interface User Record (IUR) – a file produced every time a ticket is issued or modified and enables settlement between the agency and airline. Content in the new IUR file may be slightly different, requiring adjustments to processing.

Adjustments to processing may be required.

Be in the know for your OTA workflow

Considering stakeholder needs across end-to-end workflows is a key component of Sabre’s iterative development process. We are collaborating with customersto design and refine our Beyond NDC solutions. While we strive to minimize workflow disruptions, some changes may be needed. Work with your Sabre accountrepresentative to understand NDC workflows.

Shopping

SHOPPING

CURRENT PROCESS

  • One single API request and source from ATPCO

IMPLICATIONS WITH NDC

  • Sabre shopping API integrates content from multiple sources (ATPCO, LCC, NDC) into one single API.Displaying NDC offers may include multiple components to support comparison shopping.

TAKEAWAYS FOR THE OTA

  • Minimize integration efforts.Optimize development resources.

    Understand UI design implications associated with NDC offers.

Pricing Validation

PRICING VALIDATION

IMPLICATIONS WITH NDC

  • A single API is used to validate the pricing with additional qualifier (like FF#, etc.) irrespective of the content source (ATPCO, NDC, etc.).

TAKEAWAYS FOR THE OTA

  • The “Offer Price” API now provides a common approach to obtaining final pricing.

Booking

BOOKING

CURRENT PROCESS

  • Itinerary revalidation PNR creation
  • One PNR is created in the Sabre GDS and one is created in the airline reservation system.
  • Itinerary revalidation PNR creation

IMPLICATIONS WITH NDC

  • The NDC booking process requires separate Sabre APIs.
  • Order is created in the airline reservation system.Sabre keeps a copy of the order in its Order Management System (OMS).

    When an NDC order is created, a mirror PNR is simultaneously generated in the Sabre GDS, which can also be retrieved via Sabre Red 360.

  • Introduction of new “Time to Live” concept: NDC offers expire based on the carrier’s business rules. This isreferenced to as “time to live” or TTL.An NDC offer must be booked within its TTL interval.

    After TTL has expired, an offer will need to be re-shopped and re-priced.

TAKEAWAYS FOR THE OTA

  • Sabre booking APIs for NDC are less complex because you only send in offer ID and passenger details.“Order Create” is the API to request anNDC order. (Order is how reservations are referred to in the NDC world).
  • Simplified development efforts.
  • Ensure that the online booking flowincludes the information on the validity of the offer.

Ticketing

TICKETING

CURRENT PROCESS

  • For traditional offers, OTAs issue tickets through the Sabre GDS.
  • Tickets are issued by OTAs by using automatically assigned ticket stock.
  • PNRs/reservations normally have a ticketing deadline for midnight on the day of creation.

IMPLICATIONS WITH NDC

  • For NDC Offers, airlines will issue tickets upon receiving a fulfillment request from an OTA.The API to request fulfillment is called “Orders Change.”
  • A technology provider may utilize neutral ticket stock on behalf of an airline.
  • An airline will return the ticketing time limit after an order has been created.

TAKEAWAYS FOR THE OTA

  • OTAs need to be aware of this change in order to adjust collection, billing and back-office processes.
  • Allows multiple payment options.
  • Leverages ARC/BSP capabilities (depending on carrier’s implementations).
  • OTA may need to adjust ticketing delivery processes.

Payment

PAYMENT

CURRENT PROCESS

  • A variety of forms of payment (FOP) accepted today.

IMPLICATIONS WITH NDC

  • Some airlines may only accept credit cards as a FOP as they start to distribute NDC offers.Those airlines using neutral ticket stock, may accept other forms of payment as well.

TAKEAWAYS FOR THE OTA

  • Consider your customer base and payment terms.Know if your airline partners will adopt neutral ticket stock.

Post Booking

POST-BOOKING

CURRENT PROCESS

  • OTAs can manage involuntary changes, make voluntary changes and cancel reservations.OTAs can add or edit reservation fields such as email address, telephone number, seat assignment, etc.

IMPLICATIONS WITH NDC

  • Cancellation pre-fulfillment is available today.Voluntary changes post-ticketing will be delivered in 2020.

TAKEAWAYS FOR THE OTA

  • Sabre is working to normalize these capabilities, but we also recommend you familiarize yourself with your airline partners’ procedures and policies.

Mid Office

MID-OFFICE

CURRENT PROCESS

  • Steady state

IMPLICATIONS WITH NDC

  • Changes to mid-office systems will be necessary and will vary depending on the type of system and provider.

TAKEAWAYS FOR THE OTA

  • Assess your mid-office systems and determine how they support your NDC plans and if adjustments are needed. Ask third-party providers about their approach to migrating to the new NDC-enabled APIs.

Back Office Reconciliation

BACK-OFFICE RECONCILIATION

CURRENT PROCESS

  • Steady state

IMPLICATIONS WITH NDC

  • Sabre will continue to provide the Interface User Record (IUR) – a file produced every time a ticket is issued or modified and enables settlement between the agency and airline. Content in the new IUR file may be slightly different, requiring adjustments to processing.

TAKEAWAYS FOR THE OTA

  • Adjustments to processing may be required.

Get started today!

Include NDC in your strategic planning conversations

Ask your Sabre account representative about accessing and testing the APIs

Share feedback about the APIs with your Sabre account representative

Ask other third-party partners about their ability to support your NDC plans

Conduct user research and usability testing to determine optimal interface design for personalized bundles and prices

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